Australia’s Next Top Model, Cycle 6: Wrong winner, right everything else

By now, you probably all know about Australia’s Next Top Model, Cycle 6 – for all the wrong reasons! This was the season that made international headlines after host Sarah Murdoch announced the wrong winner, a huge shame for someone like me, who had been quietly and avidly following the show for weeks only to find massive unavoidable spoilers all over the Internet before I had even set eyes on the finale! It was also a huge shame for the show, which had enjoyed its strongest year yet and undoubtedly, it’s slickest live finale (lest we forget the car crash telly of Jodhi Meares’ face-palming Season 3). And yes, the cock-up of all cock-ups was even more cringeworthy when you watched the final in its entirety, where runner-up Kelsey Martinovich was allowed to celebrate winning for a good minute and a half whilst Murdoch’s face slowly turned a shade of green her Botox never thought it could manage.

ANYWAY. The downside of it being the best year contestant-wise was that, drama-wise, it was actually a little dull. The funniest moment was when the obligatory crew-cut at makeover, Sophie Van Der Akker (skin possibly entirely composed of foundation, below) attempted to re-attach her ratty hair extensions back at the house. So they cut her hair even shorter instead! Kudos also to the evil genius who decided to send the girls to Japan for their overseas trip, where they made bemused appearances on a ‘Super Kawaii!!!’ show, where they had to hop like bunnies and dress as schoolgirls and Lolitas, whilst their midget stylists burst into tears of happiness/sadness/randomness at every opportunity.

Drama came courtesy of the most beloved of all AusNTM tropes – the bogan (see Eboni Season 2, Leiden Season 4, Cassi Season 5). This year, it was Gold Coast Meter Maid (think Hooters girl, but in charge of parking fees) Kimberly Thrupp (above). Alternating between giving ‘110%’ and not being arsed, she objected to a shoot concept as, at the grand old age of 20, she ‘didn’t believe in true love’, swore during a presenting challenge and, despite saying her ‘butt’ was ‘grabbable’ at a jeans promo, took issue with having to model swimwear and flounced off to pack her bags (needless to say, she didn’t leave and instead continued to give ‘110%’ whilst admitting she wasn’t trying her hardest). Alex Perry called her ‘so annoying I want to stab myself so it can all be over’.

When she was finally given the boot for her attitude, renowned photographer (and AusNTM Nigel Barker-lite) Jez Smith tried to offer some encouragement about carrying on. Instead, dear Kimberly stuck her chin out, told everyone she wasn’t going to carry on modelling and was going to ‘do something with my life’. Renowned supermodel Sarah Murdoch told her she had ‘the goods to make it’, to which Kimberly maturely replied, ‘Don’t want to. Learnt enough… need to find something else to entertain myself with now’. Hear that sound, Murdoch? It’s a 20 year-old Gold Coast Meter Maid pissing all over your entire life’s work and career! Sadly, the cameraman had gone to sleep, too busy segueing to the moving elimination soundtrack, and was too late to capture the reactions of the panel (can you imagine how Alex Perry looked?!), allowing us to merely hear their ruminations about how they should have kept the previously-eliminated girls instead. Kimberly then refused to hug anyone (‘Is the car out back?’) and made her exit. Kimberly was last seen fishing around for a model agency.

kelsey martinovich ausntm mad men

Fortunately for the lack of drama in-house (the final two, Kelsey and Amanda, were both so sickeningly nice and beautiful that they make Elle Macpherson look like a troll) was that the judges were on top form. Despite a personnel change from the catty Jonathan Pease in the Mr Jay role, to former Banana In Pyjama, the superfluous Josh Flinn (main contribution: report cards that Sarah Murdoch made a big fuss of at panel before chucking away without a second glance, occasional bursts of tap dancing, alas not in banana/pyjama costume), there were plenty of great quotes like:

I would raise my eyebrow… if I could.

(On a photo) She’s competing with the couch… and I keep thinking to myself that’s quite a fabulous sofa.

(In reply to someone saying a photo had ‘a Dynasty look about it’) More like dysentery!

Hmmm… perhaps you had to be there, but Alex Perry and Charlotte Dawson took time out of their Facebook slanging matches to continue to be the best thing about the show. Alas, they had very little reason to get bitchy, as the photos were almost universally ridiculously strong. The majority of them looked like professional editorial or ad campaigns, especially in contrast to NZNTM’s amateurish second season (more of which later).

So onto the pretty things… and too many good ‘uns to pick from! As you may have worked out, my love for all things 50s inspired meant I was a sucker for the first week’s Mad Men-inspired photo-shoot, shot by Jez Smith. Gorgeous styling, beautiful make-up and a great atmosphere, albeit more Hitchcock heroine than Joan Holloway (cue girls wondering if Grace Kelly was a man * sigh *). I love how Jez Smith actually captures some emotion from the girls’ eyes (many shoots this series, although pretty, are simply that… just pretty), often a quiet pain or sadness that’s at odds with the flawless imagery. I’ve liberally scattered this post with my favourite photos, which are (top to bottom): Sophie, Kimberly, Joanna Broomfield (wistfully romantic – love this shot), Kelsey, Chantal Crocolo (Keira Knightley’s Egyptian half-sister), Alison Ware and Sally Geach (who both didn’t even make it through the first round!). Kathryn Lyons, meanwhile, looks simply beautiful, as she continued to do throughout.

Kathryn (above) was probably the most photogenic model I’ve seen yet on NTM. In VTs, she was an unassuming scrap of a thing, bony, bad skin, mousy; in photos, she somehow transformed into a gamine graceful goddess, a divine creature blessed with flawless skin and a beautiful bone structure, with a touch of the Audrey Hepburn about her. My favourite photo of her was from the swimwear shoot, which literally took my breath away. It’s just stellar – stunning, sensual with a gorgeous natural ease to it. Needless to say, it’s the banner picture.

Week 2 was a denim campaign, think glossier 80s Bananarama record sleeve (above)! Jessica Moloney’s could be published tomorrow (Jessica Stam and Lily Cole’s love child, given an emo makeover). I also love the use of body shapes and lighting in Amanda’s photo, and the steel tubes and industrial setting work well with the double-denim styling to give an edgy, cool feel.

Week 3 was beauty shot time, in the presence of Harper’s Bazaar editor Claudia Navonne. With an accent pitched somewhere between one of Roald Dahl’s witches and an East European madam, Claudia’s description of ‘POUFF! Magic happens!’ never fails to entertain. Kelsey’s tigress shot (above) is stunning – that fierce mane of hair, the sense of movement in a static image and eyes that connect and are saying very naughty things!

I love the whimsical feel of Week 6’s accessories shoot for Cosmo (above), with one very important accessory – a live animal! The real thought that had gone into matching the animal with the accessories is superb and works in different ways; whilst Amanda’s strong editorial look contrasts spectacularly with the cute little pig she’s holding, Jessica really captures the fun side of the shoot, interacting naturally with her Dalmatian and producing a really infectiously lovely photo.

Week 7 (are you bored yet?) and the usual NTM sadistic streak reared its head, getting models to sport lingerie in sub-zero temperatures (above). I love the vintage, Dr Zhivago-esque styling, whilst the scenery provides a stunning backdrop. The iciness really brings out the ethereal blue in Jessica’s eyes and I was banging on about how wonderful Kathryn’s photo was several days later. (Can you BELIEVE she got sent home that week?!?!).

kathryn lyons ausntm cruise

Finally, deep breath (are you worn out yet), a few moments for eventual winner Amanda Ware. A deserving winner in my eyes, who I’m proud to say I picked out right from the off, as she was about the only one in the opening credits who didn’t look either awful or unable to walk without looking drunk. Her best photo, for which Alex Perry ran out of synonyms and intensifiers for ‘expensive’, was shooting luxury brands on a luxury yacht. She looks long, lean, entirely above it all… and yes, ridiculously expensive (although as ever, Kathryn gave her a run for her money). In contrast, Tyra Banks much-mooted ‘High Fashion’ Cycle 15 of ANTM saw contestants defying belief and actually dressing up, often in drag, as famous fashion designers. Is there any question as to which series has more class, style and intrinsic understanding of how fashion should work?!

However, my favourite thing about the whole season was the promo. Are there many greater pleasures in life than seeing Charlotte Dawson waving wads of cash at the camera as a bookie (!), 16 pretty girls pretending to be racehorses/greyhounds (!!) wearing evening gowns and going face-first into the dirt (!!!) and Dame Alex Perry, complete with sunglasses and fur, lowering his binoculars to declare ‘Expensive’!!!! The answer (for NTM devotees anyway): no. Enjoy!

Incidentally, this post means I have now reviewed every season of Australia’s Next Top Model so far! That can only mean one thing – ranking time! So if you’re wondering where to start with AusNTM, here’s my take:

BEST TV:  Cycle 5 > Cycle 2 > Cycle 1 > Cycle 4 > Cycle 3 > Cycle 6

BEST PHOTOS/MODELS:  Cycle 6 > Cycle 5 > Cycle 2 > Cycle 3 (Alas, one Burdeu does not make up for a cast of shorties) > Cycle 1 > Cycle 4

The word cycle looks strange now. My work here is done.

13 responses to “Australia’s Next Top Model, Cycle 6: Wrong winner, right everything else

  1. Can I just say how excited I am to find someone else who loves the Australian Next Top Model shows?! I’ve only seen cycles 3 and 4 so far (loved Alice, Demelza should not have won), but I’m definitely checking out cycle 6 next if it’s as good as you say! (Yay!)

    • Hi Anastasia!

      Well, you’ve definitely come to the right place to find a fellow AusNTM fanatic! IMO, it’s the best (English language) Top Model show out there and Season 6 definitely has some gorgeous pics.

      However, my favourite season is Cycle 5. I think it has the best combination of entertaining tv, plus great girls and photos. If you can track them down, the first two cycles are well worth a watch too and far better than most ‘early seasons’ of the show! There are reviews for all of them on here, although there are spoilers so maybe you can come back and comment when you’ve watched them!

      And ugh, the less said about Demelza the better!

      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. I love all the NTMs, but Australia is definitely the one with the best humour. Personally though, i have been disappointed with pretty much all of the Aus winners – Gemma (a tad too psycho….); Ebony (Rough as. Why did no-one suss out how nasty she really was? And receiver of the ‘most blatant ever favouritism from the judges’ award); Alice ( well in fairness she certainly had the look and is now a top top model, but that just proves that personality does not actually matter at all); Demelza ( errrm… fake, nasty, snide, spoilt, over-rated); Tahnee ( gorgeous girl, lovely personality but Claire should have won!) and of course, Amanda. In my opinion, Amanda and Kelsey were the weakest top 2 in any english-speaking NTM so far – both rather plain and average looking, neither had amazing walks , or indeed anything special about them. I just watched series 6 and was shocked at the top 2 after such a great competition. x Maxine in the UK. PS, Kathryn’s photos were EXQUISITE , utterly beautiful!

    • Hey Maxine

      Great to see another NTM fan and YES, Australia is by far THE BEST! As you can see from my reviews of all six seasons (you can see them all here just in case: I love the panel (especially Alex Perry and Charlotte Dawson) and they usually have a decent collection of girls and some gorgeous photos.

      However, I’m gonna have to disagree with you about some of the winners! I think Gemma was the best available winner from Season 1; yes, utter nutcase but almost endearingly so (who wouldn’t be if you had to recite ‘I am a powe pussy!’ with your mother?!) and she’s gone on to have a pretty successful if commercial career (she models loads of underwear on ASOS if you’re interested!). Eboni – agree, she was rank and should have been DQed, there were lots of model-worthy girls that season too. I LOVED Tahnee and LOVED Amanda and Kelsey (picked those two out right from the opening credits), though Kathryn did have the most beautiful photos I agree. I thought Alice was great, far better than that Steph who seemed to get through mainly because Jodhi Meares had a girl crush on her. & let’s not get started on horrid horrid Demelza! Ugh.

      Looking forward to Season 7! And you should check out NZNTM if you get the chance – it has its moments too! The third season is currently airing and so far, it’s a massive step up with some gorgeous photos and gorgeous girls!


  3. i love australia’s next top model . but so far i started watching this show from
    cycle 5 up to now . 🙂

    • Glad you’re enjoying AusNTM Krisha, try tracking down the other seasons if you can, they’re all very entertaining!

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. Just finished the series here in Asia, loved the whole thing. I’ve been trying to find the photos of all the girls in their various photo shoots, which I’m fairly sure must be floating out there somewhere. You wouldn’t happen to know where I could get them from, would you? The official site no longer hosts the cycle 6 photos anymore, I don’t think 😦

  5. I love NTM…Britain, America and Australia rank as my favourite. So far the British winners have been a little dull. Jade (Season 5) was by far the best and took the most high fashion photos. Unfortunately, the excuse that she was too skinny, even though she made it to 3rd place was a complete cop-out. Media pressure obviously got to the producers too much for them to handle despite the fact that she spent the entire series talking about her battles with aneroxia and how she is desperately trying to put on weight.

    Season 7 has been a trifle disappointing as once again none of the girls really have international model potential, apart from Juste who in model terms has to win. As a personality, she’s shown really b*tchy sides to her that is just unpleasant to watch. Whilst Jade on the other hand has stepped it up enough and is just too inconsistant.

    Anyway, just finished catching up with Season 6 of AusNTM and have to say, loved it. Glad Sophie didn’t win! She was a bit too cocky and self-assured, not a particularly desirable trait in a human being. Amanda started slow but she turned it around in the end. Kelsey was an absolute goddess. How soul destroying was that finale?? Being annoucned as the winner only to have that taken so easily away. I would have been just as happy to see her win but Amanda is amazing so probably will have an fantastic career on the world stage……Hopefully on par with Alice, who and let’s be honest about this, is by far the best winner of any Top Model cycle.

    Loving Season 7 so far. Neo and Caroline definitely deserved to go. Not sure who will win this year as they’re all equally as good. But my god, please can they get rid of Simone. Cannot stand her. Another one whois too full of herself. Some of these girls need to eat a little bit of humble pie…..they’ve not even made it on the big stage yet.

    Now, onto America’s next top model. Ann Ward was a worthy winner of Season 15. Loed her awkward, geekiness from the offset and she rarely failed to disappoint. Shame some of the others winners have been forgettable, e.g Naima – how on god’s green earth did she win season 4? My other favourites have been Joanie Dodd and Anya Kop, Season 6 and 10 respectively – both robbed of victory in my opinion.

    And really enjoy watching Tyra, she seems to be on the same level as the contestants and genuinely cares about their well being. It’s not just about creating an entertaining programme but also about the future career of the eventual winner. The episode where she shouted at that contestant who was eliminated (can’t remember her name) was so powerful. Totally awesome!

    As you can see, I am a massive fan of the top model cycles. Just can’t get enough. My poor fiancee frequently has to sit through these shows. He hates them and doesn’t understand the appeal. ha ha

    • Wow Bek! I think you should write your own blog! Thanks for the comment though… you can see the rest of my Next Top Model posts here – including New Zealand (which has just finished Cycle 3) and Canada, both of which you haven’t mentioned and I think you’ll enjoy!

      BNTM this year has been nothing short of terrible in my view. Barely any of the finallists had any sort of model potential whatsoever – the only stand-outs have been the Russians (non British – coincidence?!) and Jade, whose look I love. Shoots have been cheap and awful, judges terrible, they’ve rarely mentioned who won all the photo-shoots where clients were involved (surely really important?!), the audition shows were a total shambles and the girls themselves have not only been mostly obviously lacking in potential but not terribly entertaining viewing either!

      I agree Jade from Cycle 5 was the best – Joy from Cycle 6 has also done pretty well and looks SO MUCH more high-fashion now and I believe Season 2 winner Lianna also had a pretty decent career (maybe cos she looks like Agyness Deyn to me!).

      Australia for me is the best of the English language NTMs by far. It always has stunning girls, the judges are just the right mix of entertaining but offering good critique and it’s always entertaining viewing. This season, any of the final 20 would win over ANYONE from this season of BNTM. Neo and Caroline both had lots of potential and were gorgeous girls but just couldn’t switch it on properly for photos, which was a shame. I dislike Simone too… doubt she’ll win… and Izzy is also annoying… but it’s difficult to pick one out of the rest of the cast. I love Maddy’s look (but she needs to step it up a bit to be a proper contender), I picked out Montana right from the start, Hazel is getting better and better and both Liz (who looks like a mix of Amanda & Kelsey) and Rachel are really strong too. The photos so far have all been stunning – apart from that weird coffin shoot.

      Alice was a great winner, I personally loved Tahnee from Cycle 5 and am glad she beat Cassie purely on professionalism levels and I loved both Amanda and Kelsey. Gemma Sanderson, the winner of Season 1, has also had a pretty fantastic (if mostly commercial) career and you can still see her modelling underwear on ASOS now!

      ANTM I find is too much about the drama and not enough about the modelling. I’m glad they’ve tried to do this whole new ‘high fashion’ spin on things but for me, it’s too little, too late and honestly, winners of either AusNTM or NZNTM are more deserving of the pages of Italian Vogue than most of the ANTM girls. The All Star season will be entertaining but looks like it’s more about creating a celeb than a working model and most of the rest of the winners haven’t exactly gone on to stellar careers.

      I really like Jay Manuel but despise Miss Jay, who has become an irrelevant caricature and I HATE Tyra. For me, the show should be more about the girls than some has-been model and Tyra consistently tries to make it about her, her outrageous outfits and her general histrionics. What other franchise of NTM has the host taking up almost as much screen time in the credits as the girls?! Why must each Tyra Mail be plastered with a photo of the woman herself?! Currently, I’m watching Cycle 16, where Tyra has managed to adorn all available walls in the house with her own photos!

      Luckily, my boyf finds the shows relatively entertaining so doesn’t mind me watching too many! Let me know what you think of Canada and New Zealand if you get the chance!

  6. Hi;) I have been spending the last few days at home watching AusNTM seasons 5 and 6 and i have enjoyed them so much…however the finale of the 6th season was a total shock, which i can not get over yet…can somebody tell me what really happened? I thought it was a joke and that Sarah would say they have 2 winners at the end…and even more confusing is the fact that I actually have the November Aussie Bazaar magazine and it is Kelsey on the cover, not Amanda! So who is the winner after all?

    • Hi Radoslav – and thanks for commenting!

      Amanda *was* the real winner and got all the winner’s prizes. However, because they’d announced Kelsey’s name by accident, they printed two versions of Harper’s – one with Amanda on and one with Kelsey on to try and make up for it. I think she also got some money as a consolation prize too! In the end, everyone probably benefited from it! I thought Kelsey handled it all with amazing grace, so good on her!

  7. Thank you so much for answering so quickly! Before watching the last episode i browesed for some images of Sarah Murdock on google and came across the 2 Bazaar covers, one of which was the cover I knew I already had in my collection and i quickly connected it and realised Kelsey is the winner and was sure of it till the end…and when I actually watched the episode today, it just slapped me after Sarah get into that confusion…must have been really embarassing…but after all they told her the name Kelsey at first on the ear phones for sure…i vould never imagine that such a mistake can ever happen…I am sure the public never chooses the winner, it is the agency or the Bazaar people who influence the choice the most! Good for Kelsey that she got the cover after all…it would have been good if all 3 of them had their covers run by Bazaar…I kinda liked Sophie,too…although at first her attitude was rather repulsive, but little by little I started liking her…and Oh god, what a face and body she has…reminded me of younger Linda Evangelista back in 1991 when she had shorter blond hair…and Sophie’s face is even more perfect! Wonder if those girl are getting any jobs?

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